Museums

A place to learn about Ohio, America, and the World.

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

Address:

Sullivant Hall, 1813 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43210

https://cartoons.osu.edu

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is located on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. This museum houses the world’s largest collection of cartoons and comics. The college started collecting artwork in the 1970’s when it was given the collection of Dayton native and world famous cartoonist Milton Caniff, and has grown since. The museum is open to public most afternoons. Their is also library where one can study cartoons and comics.

The collection includes, editorial cartoons, comic books, comic strips, graphic novels, spots cartoons, magazine cartoons. The museum itself is made of a few galleries filled with cartoons and comics. There is tons to look at an explore. The museum has special exhibits through out the year and many exhibits are rotated. When we went there was a really great Mad Exhibit.

The admission is free, so coming many times a year is needed to see the new exhibits. There is parking in the area, free and at a cost. Most likely, one will have to pay, so look at the options and find out the best deals. The time it takes to visit the museum all depends on how long one spends reading the cartoons. There is lots of fun comics to read, so take the museum leisurely.  The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is really unique museum that is easy to access. You do not have to be a lover of comics, to enjoy this museum.

Tip: The museum is located on the campus of one of Americas biggest Universities. The place will be busy during the school year and a madhouse at football time. 

 

 

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Fort Meigs

29100 W River Rd, Perrysburg, OH 43551

https://www.fortmeigs.org

Following the Siege of Fort Meigs the fort was no longer needed.  A smaller fort was built but abandoned at the end of the war. As the years went on the site was left but not forgotten. 1864, during another American war, brothers Timothy and Thomas Hayes bought the land and decided to preserve it for all that had fallen. In 1907 their family decided to sell it to the state of Ohio. One year later a large monument was installed by veterans of the Civil War to honor those from the War of 1812. In the 1960’s the Ohio History Society decided to rebuilt the Fort. The new recreated Fort opened in 1974. After nearly 30 years the Fort was starting to show its age and in 2000 the Fort was rebuilt again. This new Fort now stands proudly along the Maumee.

The Fort is split into two main parts, the Fort and the Museum. Starting with the Fort is a good idea. The land has change overtime but the Fort itself was recreated to be as accurate as possible. Inside the its walls are the embankments, like those that protected the men during the battle, blockhouses, and the memorial erected by the Civil War veterans. At first this seems like any other recreation of a fort. Walking around the grounds one can get a feel for how big the Fort was. The land however does not really give much for the feel of the time, or the life of a soldier. One can go inside the blockhouse too.

The blockhouses, all seven of them, are the real treat to the Fort recreation. Unlike some recreations where it is a blank building, or just a few items, these are full museum rooms.  Inside are displays about the time of the Fort, the life of the soldiers, and the activities of the siege. They include maps, very detailed models, and interactive displays. All of the blockhouses are separated into one aspect each, but together make up a large museum. Each one must be entered to get the whole story of the Fort.

Outside the trails include the paths that the would have been used at the time. They follow along the outer edge along the wall going from house to house. At certain points the wall is lower and the river can be seen, or the field where the British and Tecumseh’s men were stationed. At these points are cannons ready to defend the Fort.

Inside the visitors center is a nice video, museum, and the gift shop. While the Fort is about the battle, the museum is more about times before the conflict, the times of the greater conflict, and how we know what we know than it is the siege itself. This is where the actual artifacts are housed. Along side the artifacts are stories of how they were found. Pictures of the archaeological digs, tales of the interpretation needed, and questions still left unanswered. The museum is a great companion to the Fort.

From the Fort to the fields to the Museum, Fort Meigs is a great place to learn about a piece of American history that helped to keep us free, the life and times of the men and women who fought, and we can keep their history alive.

Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center

13178 State Route 664 South, LoganOH 43138 

https://www.explorehockinghills.com/plan/welcome-centers

The Hocking Hills Welcome Center is one of the best places to start a trip to the Hocking Hills region. The center is located at the edge of downtown Logan, Ohio. It is a great place to get trail maps and information on the less traveled trails and parks of the region. Inside are brochures and guides on more than just the natural wonders, with lots of information on businesses catering to visitors. It also has a large collection of menus from local restaurants for anyone trying to decide where to go after a long day on the trail.

While the world has gone digital and most information is online, the centers staff is quite helpful and a great resource. They are happy to help visitors find the regions popular destinations, local resources, and hidden gems. The center also has many paper maps that are great for using on the trails or roads of the region. In an area where mobile phone reception can be and usually is spotty, this can be a real life saver.

While there don’t forget to leave enough time to go to the Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum just outside the front doors. This is one of the regions hidden treasures.

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum

13178 State Route 664 South, LoganOH 43138

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum Sign

The Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum is located next to the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. This museum is an oversized garden shed. What the museum lacks in size it makes up in the size of the collection. The museum houses the collection of Paul Johnson. There are over 3,400 pencil sharpeners in the collection. It is just one room. A person can stand in the middle and turn three sixty and see the whole museum. A visit to the area should include this museum. It will not take long to see, but will amaze one in the amount and variety of pencil sharpeners. It is one of Ohio’s hidden treasures. So, make it a point to see this museum.

COSI Old and New

Digital Cameras didn’t become a common device until 2000 by that time COSI had built its new building. Lucky for us some one has been collecting old photographs, maps, stories and history of the Science Center.

http://oldcosi.com

But for the newer COSI here are some of our photos:

COSI and The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery

333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215

https://cosi.org/exhibits/dinos

In the fall of 1999 the Center of Science and Industry, COSI for short, opened its new riverside museum along the Scioto River. This museum was a $210 million work of art. Built on top of the old Central High School, the building is a very large and inviting presence in Columbus. Unfortunately it also had a high upkeep cost to it. Because of the building expense and maintenance costs COSI eventually had to shutter large portions of its building, including the entire south wing. The major exhibit in that space was the ever popular Adventure. Adventure did reopen in 2010, but this time as an extra fee. At the turn of 2017 Adventure was closed for good. In its place would come a new gallery with the help of The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in NYC.

The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery is the newest permanent exhibit in the museum. The gallery is dedicated to the full understanding of the large creatures that once ruled the earth. More than just talking about them as a zoo would, with info on the different types and displays of each, the gallery dives deep into how they lived, how they acted, how we know what we know, what exactly they were, and what they became. The exhibit does not shy away from the idea that dinosaurs did not become lizards, but become birds. The amount of information it presents to explain why we now believe this to be true is vast.

This in-depth exploration of the 100’s of millions of years dinosaurs roamed the earth can become a little overwhelming for kids. The exhibit breaks up the information with displays, dioramas, and skeletons, and some interactive elements. Kids will enjoy looking at all the visual things the gallery. There are also many hands on portions that they will love. Adult can take a deeper dive into the facts and figures. The hall is a great place to take any interested in natural history, dinosaurs, birds, or great museum exhibits.

Along with the Dinosaur Gallery the American Museum of Natural History used the available portion of the wing to open a rotating Special Exhibition Gallery next door. When we went the gallery had Traveling The Silk Road: Ancient Pathway on exhibit. This exhibit was presented by AMNH and was amazing. While the exhibits will change from time to time if they live up to the standards that COSI and AMNH have given with the Dinosaur Gallery we expect everyone to be a reason in and of themselves to come and see why COSI is one of the greatest Science Museums in America.

 

COSI – 10 years later

Columbus, OH 43215
http://www.cosi.org/

Original Review

10 years Ago we posted a review of Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry. COSI as it is known. Since then many things have changed and evolved. Some sections have gone away. Others have advanced with the times.  Over all the museum has finally found its footing and is as amazing as ever.

Upon arriving at the complex the first change many will notice is that the old parking lot is gone. In its place is an underground large parking garage. Atop the garage is a green space with gardens and spaces for programs. From the outside this opens up the area to be more scenic.

Inside much has changed, but in more subtle ways. Do to budget concerns the museum had to close some of it exhibits. This lead to the more kid friendly attractions staying and some of the more educational parts being shuttered. Over the years these parts have reopened, moved, and been reworked. Some have become areas for traveling exhibits that are included with admission. These sections keep the museum fresh and ever changing.

With the new sections open the museum feels well balanced. Sections for the kids (Gadgets) still are around but new section where the whole family can learn are also included. Energy Explorers teaches about conservation and proper use through interactive games and exhibits. All of the activities are tied to a card that one picks up on entering and everything affects the overall outcome of the person chosen. The kids can have fun with the games, while the adults can think about the answers. Small choices can have a big out come.

This mix of fun and learning helps to teach without preaching. Many of the attractions that have reopened are like this. Life has a working research lab from Ohio State University. At the same time the data is collected through many interactive stations and games. Ocean now has a lab / more information room where visitors can study the world right around them, not just the bigger ocean. COSI seems to have taken the “great for kids learning about a subject but not so much a place to “explore more information.” and fixed it. Now many of the section have both simple to learn ideas and larger context working together.

 

One of the best parts of the redesigns is the section dedicated to the history of the Museum itself. In it is many photos and artifacts from the begone days of the old building and even the lost section of the new one. This is where the old mine elevator is now housed. Any one who remembers the original COSI will love to ride it agian.

Probably the biggest change is to the South Wing. gone is the popular, but more for kids, Adventure section. In its place is a New Gallery. But that is a whole other review in itself.

So for its 20th year in the new location we say give it a try. COSI has found its footing and is now a great place for Adults, kids , and every one of any age.

The Scioto Mile

https://www.sciotomile.com/

The Scioto Mile is a collection of 9 parks along the Scioto River in the heart of Downtown Columbus. Started in 2015, this “mile” was a reworking of the land surrounding the river. Dams were removed. The area was taken back to a more natural state and the its beauty was emphasized. The mile has more than 175 acres of land, but is more than just a series of parks along a river.

The parks are connected by the Scioto Trail. The trail makes up the backbone of the system running from Scioto Audubon Park in the south to the Olentangy Trail in the north and on to the Ohio to Erie Trail. It follows the east side of the river winding from park to park. The parks are not just open green spaces with a few benches. Many of them are filled with sculptures and memorials. There is a center dedicated to the visual arts. More in to the performing arts? The trail has a place for them too. The variety of things to see and do is enormous.

Along the trail is Milestone 229. A restaurant for people on the trail. This is not a fast food joint but a comfort food joint for everyone. It “offers a kids’ menu, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.” The restaurant has great views of the river and the Scioto Mile Fountain. The fountain is a large interactive fountain that comes alive at night with lights and fog. A must see on the mile.

In the middle is the name sake that flows through the city. This section of the river has been improved to be a great water recreation venue. Paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks can be seen on the river during the warmer months. Tours are even offered.

Along the west bank the trail goes through less parks but is no less as scenic. The trail ends up at the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum and one of the Greatest Science Museums in the nation.

The Scioto Mile is a great way to get out and see nature or to experience the city life, or do both at the same time. It is the variety that makes this state great all within the heart of its capital city.

 

Repost: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

It has been almost 10 years since we went. We hope to go back soon. It still is a great museum. In honor of #MLK2019:

50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202

http://www.freedomcenter.org/

Although the museum is called the “Underground Railroad” Freedom Center it teaches more than just the struggle to escape slavery. It teaches the history of the problem, the struggle to escape, and the problems faced afterwards. The Museum is also more than just a museum about Black Americans. It includes sections on the strife that faced Women, Native Americans, and Abolitionists, and many others during the time period.

The museum starts with a short film about three fictional slaves. From there one passes a real slave pen and into a small section on the Underground Railroad.  This section seems like to little a space to tell too much information. From there the visitor is sent into an immersive video theater where they can experience the escape across the Ohio River. This is one of the best parts of the museum. The video tells the story as if you are there with them.

After seeing everything the second floor has to offer one moves to the top floor, where the bulk of the museums information is presented. From Slavery to Freedom tells the history of slavery in the new world, from the middle passage to the prewar years and ending with the post-Civil War era. This is the main section of the museum where most of the information is contained. Flowing like a river from the early days of the continent and the United States to the Civil War, major events are described alongside the story of the people involved. This creates a more in-depth vision of the times and a less classroom telling. The major problem with this section however is that it leaves out the Underground Railroad. Yes, because the story is told else where it is not included in the time line. This is disconcerting but does not distract too much from the overall experience.

The final sections of the museum are the “The Struggle Continues,” with a short film about modern slavery and injustices, the temporary exhibit area which house different exhibits throughout the year, and Reflect, Respond, Resolve, an interactive area to learn more about injustices in the modern world.

Even though the museum is dedicated to the Underground Railroad and slavery, it does an amazing job of keeping everything even-handed. It tries not to villainize any one group. The museum explains the facts and lets the visitor interpret them as they see fit. It is sensitive to how touchy the subject is. In “Reflect, Respond, Resolve” section the interactive displays have no right answers only more questions.

The museum is a must stop for anyone who has lived in a world with injustice. In our current climate it is even more important that ever.

19 place to go in ’19

For the last few years we have been doing a list of places to see in Ohio. This is our wish list of places to see for the year.  There is no order or ranking. So, we hope you enjoy, 19 places to see in 2019.

  1. John Glenn Museum – In the 50th year of the Apollo 11 moon landing we wanted to visit more of this new museum
  2. The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights – A large music venue in Huber Heights. Seems to have a great line up each year.
  3. Fort Meigs – the site of a major battle of the war of 1812. Recreated to look like it did in William Henry Harrison’s time.
  4. Loveland Castle – A cool medieval castle in sw Ohio.
  5. Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum – The name says it all
  6. Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum and Library – a collection and displays on the newspaper and magazine comic. Free!
  7. Ohio Theater – Columbus – They always have a good schedule.
  8. Mansfield -While known for the world-famous Ohio State Reformatory Museum, there are a lot of other museums and attractions in the area. This place is worth a weekend.
  9.  Riverboat Cruise (Cincinnati ) – Here are two places that offer riverboat cruises on the Ohio river. Both offer different cruises and tours. Queen City and BB Riverboats
  10. Pine Tree Barn, Wooster – a shop, barn, restaurant, and unique Ohio attraction all in one
  11. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (original location) and the North Market – Columbus – We love markets, we love ice cream. This is seems like the perfect combination.
  12. Covered Bridge Pizza – Multiple locations of these pizza restaurants that are located in covered bridges.
  13. Toy and Plastic Brick Museum – Lego and toys and a museum, Yes please.
  14. The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati – Cincinnati has great art, and somehow we missed last time in town. Also we want to see more of the great murals.
  15. Glass Heritage Museum – Heritage and art all in one free location.
  16. Deer Creek State Park – A new place to hike and be outdoors.
  17. Sweetie Candy Company – Return to the Candy!
  18. A Street Fair in Ohio – So many to choose from.
  19. Sandy Ridge Reservation – scenic views and hiking trails